1.26 million Korean young people unemployed; over half hold college degrees

Among the unemployed population, 25.4 per cent were not engaged in any job-seeking activities.

Lee Jaeeun

Lee Jaeeun

The Korea Herald


Among the unemployed population, 25.4 per cent were not engaged in any job-seeking activities. PHOTO: 123RF/THE KOREA HERALD

August 28, 2023

SEOUL – Over 1.26 million young South Koreans are unemployed, with more than half possessing an associate’s degree or higher, government data showed Sunday.

According to supplementary results of the “Economically Active Population Survey for the Young Population in May 2023” by Statistics Korea, there were 8.41 million people here aged 15 to 29 as of May this year. Of them, 4.52 million had either graduated from or are not currently attending elementary school, middle school, high school or college. Of all school graduates, 1.26 million remain unemployed.

Specifically, of the 1.26 million individuals without a job, 53.8 percent, or some 678,000 individuals, hold a college degree or higher. Those with a high school education or lower accounted for 46.2 percent.

Among the unemployed population, 40.9 percent were preparing for vocational training or employment tests, state government exams, civil service exams and company recruitment tests. On the other hand, 25.4 percent were not engaged in any job-seeking activities.

The number of young people not currently attending school or college with employment experience stood at 3.94 million. It took 10.4 months on average for such individuals to get their first job. Some 324,000 persons, or 8.4 percent of survey respondents, took more than three years to get a job.

Among those employed, only 50.6 percent answered that their job closely corresponds to their major.

The share of the young adult female population with job experience, 45.5 percent, was higher than that of the young male population with job experience, which stood at 40.7 percent.

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